The Transistor Chip - A Single Silicon Planar Transistor Computer Chip Die


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About this Artwork

There is a real transistor chip glued to the lower right corner of its picture. This chip is a single transistor. The 2N2222 transistor was introduced by Motorola in 1962. Transistors were the first circuits etched on silicon wafers. The 2N2222 was a bipolar NPN transistor, a sandwich of n-type, p-type, n-type doped silicon ("p" for positive, "n" for negative). The transistor was a good general-purpose transistor. It was used in switching applications, such as logic circuits, but also in lower power amplifying applications. As tiny as this transistor is at 0.39mm2, as of 2016, transistors have become so small you could place over 6 million transistors on the same chip.

About Making Computer Chips

Computer chips start out as ordinary sand, which is silicon dioxide. However, the silicon must be made very, very pure. The first step is to melt the sand, in a furnace that reaches about 3200o F, to separate the silicon. The silicon is further purified in a process that creates 99.9999% pure silicon called polycrystalline silicon. The polysilicon is broken up into chunks. These chunks are melted in a crucible at about 2500o F. A silicon crystal seed is dipped in molten silicon and slowly drawn out to create a cylinder of silicon. These silicon cylinders are some of the purest crystals on the planet. Once the silicon cylinder is grown to the desired diameter, it is sawed into wafers. These wafers are polished to achieve a very flat mirror surface. Transistors, and other microelectronic parts, are built on the polished wafer in layers in a process called etching. The wafer is then sawed into its individual chips. Each chip is mounted in an electronic package that serves to protect it and connect it to the outside world. It has been said that computer chips are the greatest value-added product in the world. We essentially take a pile of sand and change it into thousands of dollars worth of computer chips.


The artwork is framed in an 8"x 8" black shadow box frame, with glass. All framing materials are acid-free. A narrative about the artwork that includes the artist’s signature is placed on the back of the artwork.

Please note:  The look of the artifacts in the artworks may vary, each piece is unique.